The Palo Santo Natural Reserve, protects a sample of the Chaco ecosystem plains, it also protects the Chaco dry forest and some temporary lakes.

The reserve is locates in the Crevaux community, district 5 of the Yacuiba municipality, in the Gran Chaco Province of the Tarija department. With and area of 850 hectares, bordering to the north with La Ceiba indigenous community, the Pilcomayo river at the southwest and the TCO Weenhayek.

The reserve is located at 5km for the right bank of the Pilcomayo River (21 ° 52´30.47´´S and 62 ° 54´32.27´´W), between the Weenhayeks indigenous communities. With an altitudinal variant from 280 to 310 meters above sea level.


The Chaco plain has a dry climate with rainfall that varies between 300 to 700 mm per year, with a very marked dry season, the 70% of the rainfall, are concentrated between November and April. The annual average temperature is 26 ° C, but is has an extreme maximum of 48 ° C and an extreme minimum of -6 ° C. The wind direction is mostly from the south.

Within the area, there are water bodies, which makes temporarily networks of lakes, swamps, and streams, that are also called ravines.



The reserve has a subtropical xerophilous forest, where trees represent more than 75% of the vegetation cover.

The most representative characteristics are: 1) There is a dominance of trees combined with shrubs, 2) The deciduous winter vegetation, 3) Reduced and / or coriaceous leaves, many modified to spines to avoid water loss, 4) Stems adapted to water reserve.

The most common trees are Quebracho Colorado (Schinopsis quebracho colorado Schlencht), and Quebracho blanco (Aspidosperma quebracho-blanco), Palo Santo (Bulnesia sarmientoi Lorentz ex Griseb), Brea (Cercidium praecox). The typical shrub layer composed by Duraznillo, Escayante, Garabato, Sachasandia, tunas or quimilís (Opuntia quimilo), cactus -cardones, ucle (Cereus coryne).

Top left: Algarrobo blanco; Top right: Quebracho colorado; Down left: Mistol; Down right: Duraznillo

Due to heavy cattle presence, the herbaceous layer is little, however, during the rainy season you can observe a great herbaceous regeneration, plants like caraguata a characteristic bromeliad of the plain, which is found in frequent patches, and it is also use by the Weenhayek nation, they use the fiber for their handicrafts.

One of the most dominant species is the Palo Santo (Bulnesia sarmientoi Lorentz ex Griseb), this tree species categorized in the I of the International Convention on Trade in Trafficking Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and illegal trade threatens it.

Palo Santo (Bulnesia samientoi Lorentz ex Griseb)


Regarding the fauna, you can find several species, big mammals such as the Giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), honey bear (Tamandua tetradactyla). You can also find several species of cats, like the Felis geoffroyi and Felis pardalis, the South American lion (Puma concolor). The Chacoan pig qimilero or solitaries (Catagonus wagnerii) the wite lipped pecary (Tayassu tajacu), the collared peccary (Tayassu pecari), the ball quirquincho (Tolypeutes matacus), the gray cat (Puma yagouaroundi), the two South American dear or corzuelas (Mazama americana and M. gouazoubira). Birds such as the charata (Ortalis canicollis), the chuña (Chunga burmeisteri), Paloma (Leptotila verreauxi) and Toc Tec (Theristicus caudatus).

Photos were taken with camera traps of the fauna

In order from left to right and from top to bottom: Charata, Bandurria, Gato Montés, Oso hormiguero, Puma, Solitario, Quirquincho y Yagouaroundi


Pilcomayo river

The Palo Santo Nature Reserve is located in a strategic location for the Chaco conservation. It links the Weenhayek community lands and the Pilcomayo River; it is also in one of the most important connectivity corridor of the South American Great Chaco Biome, this amplify the conservation potential of the Reserve.


Beekeeping in the Reserve

The reserve currently has several programs that guide the reserve management.

Sustainable development program

The main objective of this program is to develop and put in practice the sustainable production pilots, also to become a technology and learning center that will incorporate the conservation benefits in the local economies.

The environmental education program

This program encourages the forest appreciation, through the discussion of the forest environmental services, and the opportunities to develop economic initiatives linked to the conservation.

Research, monitoring and conservation program

The main objective is to generate scientific knowledge of the wildlife and forest population dynamics, by monitoring the regeneration of trees species and the fauna, using permanent plots and camera traps.

Control and surveillance

This program, aims to a constantly monitoring of the commercial hunting activities and forestry as well.

Created By
Gabriela Alfred Arnold